Flying Eagles Goal keeper Trainer, Alloy Agu, has said the winners of Tuesday’s Africa Youth Championships’ semi-final between Nigeria and Egypt will go on to win the competition.
Defending champions Nigeria finished second in Group B with six points and are up against the Junior Pharaohs, who were runaway winners of Group A with a perfect three wins in as many matches.
“This semi-final will be the highlight of this tournament and I believe whoever wins it, will go on to win the championship,” said Agu, who was a former Super Eagles goal keeper.
The Flying Eagles defeated their Egyptian counterparts in a warm-up game last month in Cairo. They defeated their hosts 3-1 in the first match before they were pegged back by the Junior Pharaohs in the rematch also in Cairo.
However, Agu said the results of those games will count for nothing when both teams clash from 5.30pm Tuesday for a place in the final of the 2013 AYC.
“Tuesday’s game is a competitive game not a friendly as was the case last month. It will be very different in attitude and character,” said Agu.
“This is a very important game for both sides who want to qualify for the final. Hopefully, we will be the team to do so.
“Of course, there is always pressure being defending champions but we won’t allow this to overwhelm us. We will be only focused on the game.”
Agu further rated Egypt, who finished third at the AYC two years ago in South Africa, as a good team who will give the Flying Eagles a good match.
“Egypt are a very good team who have won all three games thus far at this tournament. They attack and defend very well as a team,” he remarked.
“But I believe the match will be decided in the midfield. Whoever could control the middle would break from there to score the goals to reach the final.”
Meanwhile, Leading Telecommunications Company, Globacom, has sent messages of congratulations to the Flying Eagles for qualifying for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup scheduled to hold in Turkey in June.
They beat Congo DR 3-1 in the last Group B match to come second behind group leader Mali who have also successfully booked a place in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
A statement from Globacom Monday commended the fighting spirit of the young Nigerians and tasked the technical crew to evolve ways to motivate the team to go all the way.
“We urge the Flying Eagles to ensure they successful defend the AYC title by not only beating Egypt, but also lifting the trophy,” the statement said.
Similarly, Globacom has also commended the Super Eagles for fighting back to salvage a 1-1 draw from the visiting Harambee Stars of Kenya in their World Cup 2014 qualifier in Calabar at the weekend.
“The result was not encouraging enough, but we believe the Eagles will bounce back to their winning ways and extend their lead as Group F leaders,” the company stated.
Nigeria and Malawi are now tied on five points after three matches and the Super Eagles needs to win the remaining matches to guarantee their emergence as one of the five African qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Globacom is a major partner of the Nigeria Football Federation and official sponsor of Nigeria national teams.